Erika and Israel chose to be married at a really gorgeous park in Santiago called Cerro Santa Lucia. There was some discussion about how to get there, all dressed up in our wedding finery. But since it was only a few blocks from our hotel, the bride and groom decided it would be fun to walk.
Israel hadn’t seen Erika in her dress yet, so David took him just around the corner to wait for Erika. The rest of us walked Erika down into the lobby and out of the hotel, with John escorting her in the lead. As soon as Erika stepped onto the sidewalk, car horns began to honk, first one, then 3 or 4 at a time.
As Erika walked, glowing, sounds of celebration accompanied her. People rolled down car windows to wave and shout congratulations and smile. It was amazing. We followed Erika, smiling and smiling. As she neared the corner where Israel was, John let her go forward alone, and we hung back so that she and Israel could have a moment to themselves. Then we all walked on, with Erika and Israel in the lead.
Wherever they walked, people smiled and cheered. Took pictures. Shouted congratulations. Everyone wanted to enter into the moment, and share the joy. In the process they added to all of our joy, and gave us some of the best memories of our time in Chile. We felt like we were seeing the heart of the people.
Santa Lucia is something straight out of a fairy tale. I’d seen photos, and knew it was lovely. But I was still amazed. Everywhere you look, there’s another lovely vignette– basically it is a photographer’s dream. When we got there, we didn’t immediately see the pastor, who was to meet us there. Erika’s host-mom Gina was there, however, exclaiming over how beautiful she was, and clucking over the fact that the bottom edge of Erika’s dress was already getting dirty. As we waited for the pastor, David got started on a few photos, and John took some as well.
Totally uncharacteristically, I’d chosen to leave my camera back at the hotel. I was so sure of David’s mad skillz that I knew anything I got wouldn’t be half as good. Plus my big clunky camera bag would look horrid in photos. 😉 I felt a little odd without my camera, but as you can see, my confidence in David was well placed.
All around us were people enjoying their Saturday. Everyone smiled at the sight of the bride and groom, and many got out cameras and got their own pictures of the happy couple. But they also did their best not be be intrusive, ducking apologetically out of camera shots and staying a respectful distance whenever they could.
At one point a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, came shyly up to say hi to Erika. While the little girl’s mom looked on from a few feet away, Erika knelt down and spoke to the little girl in Spanish, and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. The little girl glowed like she’d just been kissed by a princess.
After a little while we located the pastor. Due to a little miscommunication, he’d been waiting one level above where we were. He was a kind-faced man who spoke only Spanish. We gathered at the bottom of a sweeping staircase for the ceremony. Then John walked Erika ‘in’ across a big stone courtyard, and presented her to Israel.
The ceremony was short and sweet and entirely in Spanish. Erika and her host mom were probably the only ones who understood all of what that pastor said. But Spanish has words similar to English here and there, and we’d all been to enough weddings that we could guess what he was saying at any given moment. And of course we all knew what Erika and Israel were there to promise.
Then, of course, it was time for lots more photos. (What else would you expect from the wedding of a photographer?) Here are a few of my favorites. As you can see, it was a wonderful day in every way.
The last bit of official business for the day was to get on the computer and change their facebook status to ‘married’. 🙂 Big congratulations, you two! We are so happy for you, and so blessed to have shared in such a wonderful day in your lives. We are praying every good thing for your future together.